Sodium: How to Reduce or Replace IT During Meal Preparation?

Today’s generation are growing more and more health conscious and are constantly seeking information about healthy meal preparation. In the midst of this growing trend is the king of all things flavourful, or is it? Salt- the go-to seasoning in our cupboards at home, adding flavour to our meals.

Sodium is a mineral that our body needs to maintain a normal fluid balance. “However, eating too much sodium can cause high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and kidney disease…We all need some sodium, but most of us eat about 3400 milligrams (mg) per day. This is more than double the amount of sodium we need”. (Eat Right Ontario – Get the Scoop on Salt, 2017)

Fact: One teaspoon of salt is equal to 2300 mg of sodium.

The aim today is to provide some fun and creative ways to Reduce and Replace sodium right from the comfort of our own home.

Though it may seem like a challenge to replace salt during meal preparation, having the ingredients in the kitchen helps eliminate those barriers. Instead of using salt, aim to flavour foods with herbs and spices.

Here are some ideas to get you started. Feel free to experiment until you find your favourite combinations.

  • Lamb: garlic, oregano, thyme, rosemary, mint jelly
  • Chicken: lemon, garlic, ginger, rosemary, paprika, parsley, sage, thyme, basil, tarragon
  • Potato: onion, garlic, parsley, chives
  • Fish: bay leaf, curry powder, mustard powder, lemon, paprika, dill, lemongrass, ginger
  • Pork: onion, sage, thyme, oregano, black pepper, apple, applesauce
  • Rice: chives, green pepper, onion, cinnamon, bay leaf, paprika, cumin

(Eat Right Ontario – Get the Scoop on Salt, 2017)

Ways to reduce sodium consumption during meal preparation includes:

  • You can reduce your salt intake by 20% (or one-fifth) just by making one simple change: don’t add salt when cooking or at the table.
  • Don’t add a pinch/dash of salt:Not only should you stop adding a “dash of seasoning” to foods as you prepare them, but it is important not to add salt to the water you use for vegetables, pasta and rice.
  • Choose foods with the lowest amount of sodium and look for words like “sodium-free,” “salt-free” and “without salt.”

In the beginning stages of reducing or replacing salt, food can taste bland, but don’t give up. It’s just the same as giving up sugar in tea. After a few weeks, your taste buds will adjust and you will start to enjoy food with less/no salt. In fact, you’ll wonder how you ever ate food that was so salty to begin with!

Now I know that you are probably aware that when a substantial amount of salt is consumed, it can have some negative effects on our body. What exactly are the effects though? The diagram below displays the parts of the body that are affected, and how- by high sodium intake.

(Blood Pressure: Blood Pressure UK, 2017)